Ron Arnold's Green Tracking Library


   Tomales Bay Institute
originally a project of Earth Island Institute
merged with Common Assets Defense Fund
and On the Commons
TBI is defunct as a separate entity

Tomales Bay Institute
a project of Earth Island Institute
precursor of Common Assets Defense Fund and On the Commons
P.O. Box 427
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956
Phone: (415) 663- 8560
[the home of co-founder Jonathan Rowe]
Website: [created
Founded: 2000
First recorded grant: 2001
No exempt status: originally a project of Earth Island Institute.
Merged with the Common Assets Defense Fund, June 2006

Relocated to: P.O. Box 14967
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Phone: reassigned to a private party

he mission of the Tomales Bay Institute is to develop an intellectual framework that includes the commons as well as the market and the state, and to inject that expanded framework into America's vision of possibilities. Our long-term objective is to leverage system-wide change by creating an easy-to-grasp intellectual framework that inexorably leads to such change.

The original website of the Tomales Bay Institute [dated August, 2002] is now available only at the Internet Archive Wayback Machine,,
and displayed this symbolic slogan:

Background: In 2002, Earth Island Institute paid Jonathan Rowe $57,500 to establish and operate the Tomales Bay Institute in his home in Point Reyes Station, California, a little coastal town 30 miles north of San Francisco. EII supported Rowe under contract for three more years, $60,250 (2003); $70,215 (2004); $66,000 (2005).


Purpose: Tomales Bay Institute was a small prototype "thought farm"  pioneering the "commons" ideology, arguing that the role of the commons is "to provide respite and refuge from the march of so-called progress: The commons extols quiet instead of noise, rest and stability instead of frenzied and often dubious innovation." It brought together like-minded people who took the Commons idea further with the follow-on organizations Common Assets Defense Fund and On the Commons.

Tomales Bay Institute was co-founded by:

Peter Barnes, co-founder and former president of social change telephone company Working Assets Long Distance, author of Who Owns the Sky: Our Common Assets and the Future of Capitalism; Capitalism 3.0: A Guide to Reclaiming the Commons; and Climate Solutions: A Citizen's Guide with a foreword by Bill McKibben. Barnes has written for Newsweek, the New Republic and the New York Times, and was a co-founder of Common Assets Defense Fund. Barnes was the originator of the Sky Trust concept.
Harriet Barlow, executive director of the HKH (Harold K. Hochschild) Foundation, the $30 million Hochschild family philanthropy based on the AMAX mining fortune, which had been supporting "Commons" projects since 1998.  Barlow and her boss at HKH, Adam Hochschild, were among the creators of the Commons concept. She directed a total of $200,000 in HKH grants to Tomales Bay Institute. Barlow is also a trustee of the Sequoia Fund (formerly Adam Hochschild Charitable Trust, only supports the Foundation for National Progress).
Jonathan Rowe, former VISTA volunteer, Ralph Nader associate, House and Senate staffer, editor of the Washington Monthly (1983-86) and staff writer at the Christian Science Monitor, and program director of Redefining Progress, a "civilizing the corporation" group.  Comment on Tomales Bay Institute: "I really think there is not just an opportunity here, but a necessity, of getting public debate and imagination out of this free-market straitjacket it’s been in for 20 years."
Mark Dowie, investigative reporter and former Publisher and Editor of Mother Jones, magazine of the Foundation for National Progress. Dowie has close ties to Harriet Barlow - her boss at HKH Foundation, Adam Hochschild, was a co-founder of the Foundation for National Progress and its magazine, Mother Jones. Hochschild's Sequoia Fund has routinely given grants of $600,000 - $700,000 annually to the Foundation for National Progress.

TBI's Advisory Board included David Bollier, Lewis Hyde, Michael Lerner, Frances Moore Lappé, Chris Desser, Jeff Gates, Betsy Taylor, Cornelia Durrant, David Morris, Ellen Levine, Laurie Racine and Charles Halpern.

Tomales Bay Institute
 was a project of Earth Island Institute
and had no financial condition to report

Revenue     Expenses
Contributions $0
Government Grants $0
Program Services $0
Investments $0
Special Events $0
Sales $0
Other $0


Program Services $0
Administration $0
Other $0
Total Expenditures $08
Total Revenue $0   NET GAIN/LOSS $0

Tomales Bay Institute
was a project of Earth Island Institute

and had no officers or directors

Name Title Compensation


Foundation grants to
Tomales Bay Institute
passed through Earth Island Institute

Grant Total: $321,000 Number of Grants: 4


New York
New York




New York
New York



Educational, cultural, and research




Support for Environmental Projects

San Francisco



General operating support